Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summertime Visitors

Brunch for Six

Brunch is a favorite of mine because it gives you some time to get your meal prepped, as opposed to early breakfast, and it often has menu items that can be made, or at least started, ahead.  Also, because everyone loves it.  Food that would otherwise be a no-no, such as fatty meats and carbs, are indulged in for brunch.  You have the rest of the day to wear off all those calories!  For this brunch our menu was a first course of prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe wedges from our garden, a main course of grillades and grits and square biscuits with homemade fig preserves and peach jam.  And for dessert, a blueberry bread pudding with tart lemon sauce.
The first layer on the round table was a lipstick red cloth to the floor that was topped by a vintage cloth with chickens.  I collect 40's square cotton cloths with chickens to use just for breakfast and brunch.
I chose Harker "cameoware" dishes called Engraved Rooster or Cock of the Walk in yellow, which the company named "Golden Spice."  Harker, the oldest pottery company in the US, started in 1840, and began making cameoware in 1935.  It's a process by which the white design is lower than the rest of the surface of the piece making it look engraved.
Because of the "dish washer proof" label on the back of this piece, I think it was probably produced in the 1960's.  Earlier labels said "detergent resistant." 
Our first course cantaloupe and prosciutto was served on the 7" dessert or salad plate which is engraved with the same rooster as the dinner plate.
This menu gave me the chance to use several pieces of flatware - the dinner fork for the main course, the salad fork for dessert, the dinner knife for the main course, the tea spoon for coffee, and the butter knife for the biscuits and jam.  I particularly love the dinner knife which is a rather odd shape with a shorter than usual metal part that is lightly serrated.  It was probably meant to be used as a steak knife.
Although I have sets of Bakelite that match, I like to mix and match different patterns.  For this table I used four different tea spoon patterns, each a little different in color and handle shape.
I used two different butter knife patterns in the same color but different shapes.
I don't have 6" bread plates in the rooster pattern so I mixed in LuRay with it.  The two sets are almost a color perfect match.
LuRay, made by Taylor, Smith, and Taylor, has the date made on the back of each piece.  It's fun to know how old each piece is.  It's great pastel colors, blue, green, pink, and yellow, are fun by themselves and since there is no pattern, great to mix and match with other sets.
I used vintage yellow cotton damask napkins with a white leaf pattern and Bakelite napkin rings in shades of orange.
The complete place setting for the first course, and, with the 7" plate removed, for the main course also.
The glasses, with "ombre" dots, are so in style right now but are actually vintage.  I have some in this color combination and some with only yellow dots.  I also have one or two shorter, juice glasses, with the multi-color dots, but need more to use when we have guests.
I had not originally planned to use a red base cloth but one has to "go with the flow," so when the grocery store didn't have any bouquets of all orange roses, but did have multi-color bouquets, I added red into the color scheme.  The vase is a LuRay epergne (pronounced "ah-purn").  In addition to holding flowers in the top and in holes in the sides, you can also float flowers in the base.  I added branches of rosemary from my garden.  I think it is always appropriate to add herbs to any centerpiece that is for a meal.  You do need to be careful that the flowers you use don't smell so strong that they overwhelm the food though.

The salt and pepper is part of the Harker rooster set.  The oatmeal bowls, which were used for the two homemade jams, are part of the LuRay set.
The table set for dessert.  The Harker cereal bowls, for the bread pudding, are solid yellow on the inside and solid white on the outside.  (The light makes the cloth look orange, which it was not.)
 Keep an open mind.  I think ending up having to add red, because of the color of roses that was available, made for a bright, cheerful 
morning table and was not something I would have thought of otherwise as going well with yellow.

    The cup and saucer, sugar and creamer are part of the Harker set.  Quite a modern shape for their day!
I used a wicker table for a "buffet" for food service.  The cloth has oranges and orange blossoms, which fit in with both the fact it was brunch and with my color scheme.

Most of the serving pieces - pitcher for juice, bowls for grillades and grits, and gravy boat for the bread pudding's lemon sauce, are LuRay.  I used a white wicker basket with two of the yellow napkins for the biscuits and a new white casserole dish for the bread pudding.
For serving the bread pudding, I used a pie server with an painted flower embellished Bakelite handle.
For the grillades and grits I used Bakelite serving pieces in different, but similar, patterns and colors.
Love having guests who are always graciously giving me compliments on my table settings and food which of course makes all the planning and work worthwhile.  (Don't tell them I had fun doing it!)

Square biscuits for Six

My father-in-law taught me to make square biscuits at his deer hunting camp.  They are faster to cut and require no rerolling.  Use your favorite biscuit recipe or double the recipe on the Bisquick box.  Roll or pat out into a 6" X 8" rectangle, straightening and smoothing edges.  Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut into 12 - 2" squares.  No recutting needed.  Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray about an inch apart.  Brush tops with melted butter or cream.  Due to being a little thicker than usual, these may take a bit longer in the oven than recipe directions say.  Bake until golden and test with a pick.

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